- One of the courageous and gallant heroes in the Dominican Republic’s history played a key role in the 1965 uprising against the military dictatorship
- Called upon the world to condemn racism and human rights abuses
The woeful mutual history of the Dominican Republic and Haiti (which share the island of Hispaniola) is tainted with bloodshed as a result of tectonic political and racial tensions involving them over the decades. However, intertwining the two, was Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez, a Dominican national of dark skin and Haitian ancestry, who would eventually become revered as one of the most prominent and best loved Dominican political figures of the twentieth century.
Born on March 6, 1937, his life became centered on politics long before he worked his way up to become the leader of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD). During a political career filled with heartbreaks, disappointments and failures, Peña Gómez was nominated three-times as a candidate to be the Dominican president and mayor of the capital, Santo Domingo. But above all, Peña Gómez’s battle against racial constraints and anti-Haitian bigotry that were perpetually used to deter him from his lifetime mission of winning the presidency and then using it to recreate a Dominican Republic which for the first time would be at the service of its citizenry. Although repeatedly denied the presidency of his country, without exception, he became one of the most outstanding black political figures in all of Latin America and the Caribbean, and a true hero in the hemisphere.